Postdoctoral Researcher

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John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology, carrying out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and making our findings available to society.

Our research makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences including; cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

We pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive working environment for all. We have a diverse and multicultural scientific community and thrive on our European and international links. We are proud to hold a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award, recognising the impact of our work in promoting gender equality in science. We are also a proud member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion’s programme and, as a Disability Confident employer, guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852), limited by guarantee (registered in England No. 511709) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Post Details

Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003504
Closing Date
29 Aug 2018
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Biochemistry and structural biology of meiosis in Arabidopsis arenosa
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Jan 2019
Months Duration
24

Main Purpose of the Job

Explore the biochemical / structural basis of meiotic novelty in populations of Arabidopsis arenosa. The successful applicant should have experience in biochemistry, structural biology or molecular biology and preferably but not essentially also in meiosis. The postholder will contribute to project design, perform experiments in the lab, analyse data, write manuscripts and attend and present at national and international conferences. We seek candidates who are self-motivated, curious, creative and productive, as well as collaborative and open to collaboration.

Department

Cell & Developmental Biology

Development continues throughout the life of the plant. While many linear pathways affecting development have been discovered and are illustrated by elegant genetic studies, the challenge of the future will be for us to understand how these developmental pathways are integrated, both with themselves as well as with environmental signals, to enable a mature plant to grow from a seed.  Guided by evolutionary principles, the Department uses its knowledge of biological processes obtained in laboratory organisms such as Arabidopsis to understand processes in crop plants such as Brassicas and cereals.  To study this interaction of the plant genome with internal developmental networks and the environment, the Department uses a combination of genetic, cell biological, molecular and evolutionary strategies. The insights we are gaining provide both an increasingly detailed knowledge of the proteins involved in diverse regulatory mechanisms and a conceptual framework in which this knowledge can be related and eventually integrated into a molecular description of plant cell function.   The knowledge the department is creating is relevant to agriculture. Genes that control plant stature, form, over-wintering responses and growth are potentially useful for improving crop performance.

Group Details

The John Innes Centre is an internationally outstanding centre for biological research. The aim of the Bomblies laboratory is to study the mechanisms of meiosis in both diploids and polyploids, with a particular focus on evolution. The group uses complementary approaches ranging from biochemistry and cytology to population genetic and evolutionary analysis. No single lab member is expected to be an expert in all of these areas - rather the group represents a mutually supportive and synergistic multidisciplinary team, with each member contributing unique expertise.
A major focus in the lab is to meld such complementary approaches to gain novel mechanistic understanding about how meiosis can evolve in response to genome duplication and temperature.

Advert Text

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Professor Kirsten Bomblies at the John Innes Centre

Background:

The Bomblies lab has recently obtained a five-year ERC grant to undertake novel work in the causes and consequences of the evolution of meiosis. We have previously identified derived alleles of meiosis genes as potentially involved in the evolution of low crossover rates in autotetraploid A. arenosa, and in the thermostability of a diploid population.

An important aspect of this work will be to understand how the amino acids in these proteins affect e.g. their structure, their interactions, and their potential to polymerize into the long linear structures they need to build, balanced with a need to prevent aggregation. The aim is to understand how such biochemical changes achieve the phenotypic output of lower crossover rates, shorter chromosome axes, and reduced prevalence of multi-chromosome associations.

We seek motivated applicants who wish to creatively address novel and important questions, and to understand fundamental biological processes. Applicants willing to forge new directions and to think across discipline boundaries are particularly encouraged.

The role:

The successful applicant will contribute to project design, perform experiments in the lab, analyse data, write manuscripts and attend and present at national and international conferences.

The John Innes Centre offers abundant training opportunities that facilitate the building of ambitious and independent research programmes. We are fully committed to helping successful applicants develop their ideas, hone their skills, learn new approaches and achieve their career goals.

The ideal candidate:

We seek to appoint a candidate who is interested in understanding the biochemical / structural basis of meiotic novelty in populations of Arabidopsis arenosa as part of an ERC grant. Thus the successful applicant should have experience in biochemistry, structural biology or molecular biology and preferably but not essentially also in meiosis.

We seek candidates who are self-motivated, curious, creative and productive, as well as collaborative and open to collaboration. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a fulltime post for a period of 24 months in the first instance.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site http://jobs.jic.ac.uk or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk quoting reference 1003504.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity. As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. The John Innes Centre is also proud to hold a Gold Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

Key Relationships

The successful candidate will be encouraged to work relatively independently and contribute to project design together with the project leader. Most aspects of the research will be collaborative with other members of the lab and possibly with members of the biochemistry department at JIC and/or e.g. the biochemistry and structural biology groups at the LMB and University of Cambridge as appropriate. The successful applicant will also be encouraged to participate in interactions with external collaborating labs (e.g. the Franklin lab at the university of Birmingham, the Kleckner lab at Harvard University).

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
60
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
15
Disseminate research findings though presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings
10
Collaborate with colleagues within the Institute in the development of original and world-class research, including contributing to research proposals and grant applications
5
Ensure research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with good practice, Scientific Integrity and in compliance with local policies and any legal requirements
5
Contribute to the smooth running of the group, including the effective use of resources, supervision of visitors to the laboratory and assisting with training others, encouraging scientific excellence
5
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post, for example, contributing to the work of Institute committees
Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in Biochemistry, Structural Biology, Genetics, Biology or related discipline
Essential
BSc or equivalent in a relevant scientific field
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Structural Biology or related
Essential
Meiosis
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Structural Biology or related
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Proven record in scientific writing
Essential
Preparing data / information for publication and grant proposals
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Ability to collaborate with internal and external collaborators and colleagues
Essential
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Attention to detail
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Essential
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
Essential